But the girls could not love the master:

“He would beat me cruelly
And such love won’t do for me.”

Then a gipsy comes along and he, too, tries:

“The gipsy came to try the girls:
Would they love him, would they not?”

But they couldn’t love the gipsy either:

“He would be a thief, I fear,
And would cause me many a tear.”

And many more men come to try their luck, among them a soldier:

“The soldier came to try the girls:
Would they love him, would they not?”

But the soldier is rejected with contempt, in two indecent lines, sung with absolute frankness and producing a furore in the audience. The song ends with a merchant:

“The merchant came to try the girls:
Would they love him, would they not?”

And it appears that he wins their love because:

“The merchant will make gold for me
And his queen I’ll gladly be.”

Kalganov was positively indignant:

“That’s just a song of yesterday,” he said aloud. “Who writes such things for them? They might just as well have had a railway man or a Jew come to try his luck with the girls; they’d have carried all before them.”

And, almost as though it were a personal affront, he declared, on the spot, that he was bored, sat down on the sofa and immediately fell asleep. His pretty little face looked rather pale, as it fell back on the sofa cushion.

“Look how pretty he is,” said Grushenka, taking Mitya up to him. “I was combing his hair just now; his hair’s like flax, and so thick…”

And, bending over him tenderly, she kissed his forehead. Kalganov instantly opened his eyes, looked at her, stood up, and with the most anxious air inquired where was Maximov?

“So that’s who it is you want.” Grushenka laughed. “Stay with me a minute. Mitya, run and find his Maximov.”

Maximov, it appeared, could not tear himself away from the girls, only running away from time to time to pour himself out a glass of liqueur. He had drunk two cups of chocolate. His face was red, and his nose was crimson; his eyes were moist, and mawkishly sweet. He ran up and announced that he was going to dance the “sabotière.”

“They taught me all those well-bred, aristocratic dances when I was little…”

“Go, go with him, Mitya, and I’ll watch from here how he dances,” said Grushenka.

“No, no, I’m coming to look on, too,” exclaimed Kalganov, brushing aside in the most naïve way Grushenka’s offer to sit with him. They all went to look on. Maximov danced his dance. But it roused no great admiration in any one but Mitya. It consisted of nothing but skipping and hopping, kicking up the feet, and at every skip Maximov slapped the up-turned sole of his foot. Kalganov did not like it at all, but Mitya kissed the dancer.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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